Margaret Atwood was very nice. I sent her a book a while back and she brought it along so I could sign it.
The stage was very big
Poets normally read to six people, one of whom is nappign and two of whom are waiting for the mic.
And I was, frankly, a rock star. I read three poems, one framed around Fritz Haber (written for the occasion), one about Pavlovsk Station (the one from Best Canadian Poetry) and one about General Relativity (always a barn burner poetry topic). And I very nearly got a standing ovation.
This was. A thing.
Many people asked me afterward to post the Fritz Haber poem, so I will, soon.
My new book, STAND ON THE SKY, takes place in a Kazakh nomad community in Western Mongolia. The countryside, wedged between the Gobi desert and the high Altai mountains, is stark and beautiful -- and perhaps in reaction, the Kazakh built world is absolutely jammed with color.
On the outside, Kazakh homes -- yurt-like tents called gers -- are plain canvas, but inside everything is colourful and patterned. The walls are covered with hand-embroidered panel -- a Kazakh woman will make one every winter. The tablecloth had flowers. The bowls were bright red and bright green and gold. The floor was turquoise linoleum. More was more and it was beautiful.
All Mongolian pics are by Seanan Forbes, writer, photographer, traveller, teaching artist. The grants that sent me to Mongolia came from the Canada Council and Region of Waterloo Arts Fund.
Today is the day. My first true middle grade, STAND ON THE SKY, is out today, from HMH Kids Books in the US, and from Scholastic here in Canada. It should be in bookstores coast to coast to coast!
This is the book of my heart. I have always wanted to write a book about brothers and sisters -- I was very close to my late sister, to whom this book is dedicated.
I've always wanted to write a book about falconry -- the art of hunting in partnership with falcons, hawks, or eagles. I've been obsessed with it ever since came across a hawk caught by its jesses in the woods behind my house, when I was only eight or so.
Also, I really, really, really wanted to write a version of Where The Red Fern Grows (or Sounder, or Old Yeller) that had a happy ending.
So here you go. Where the Red Fern Grows, but in Mongolia, with a sister, a brother, an eagle, and a happy ending.
While it would probably be more useful to blog about where I'm going, not where I've been, that would require me to be organized. So. I'm just back from the Ontario Library Association superconference, which is the nearest thing Canada has to something like a national BookExpo. It's huge and always packed -- lots of chances to see writers peeps.
My highlight? I got to sign my ARCs for the very first time! Stand on on the Sky will be out in one month!
Of all the gers on all the steppes in all the world, this one is dearest to my heart. In the summer of 2015, I lived here.
Here's the scoop: to find a shape for a story set in Mongolia, I went to Mongolia. Together with my friend Seanan Forbes and our guide Tansaya Khajikhan (daughter of eagle hunters and holder of a degree in gender studies), I lived with and worked alongside a family of Kazakh nomads in the Olgii aimag (province) in Westernmost Mongolia.
My Mongolian middle grade adventure, STAND ON THE SKY, out March 5 from HMH Kids in the US, and from Scholastic Canada in Canada. Over few months I have many pictures to share, and you can see them on my Instagram, @erinbowbooks, with the hashtag #StandOnTheSkyPhotos.
Here are some glimpses of the astounding beauty of the Mongolian landscape. Click to enbiggen.
All Mongolian pics are by Seanan Forbes, writer, photographer, traveller, teaching artist. The grants that sent me to Mongolia came from the Canada...
So I just finished a writing retreat in Cuyahoga Valley National Park with six amazing kid lit authors: Cinda Chima, Tricia Springstubb, R.J. Anderson, Megan Whalen Turner, and Shelley Pearsall. Megan Whelan Turner is one of my writing heros, who I had never had the chance to meet. She has the exact "not telling" smile that you would think she'd have, and this is a case where meeting your heroes is an excellent idea.
I wrote 7000 words in four days, turning the magic rush of words from December into the solid first half of a book.
But also we talked and learned from each other and told secrets and drank wine and got caught hailstorms and saw a whole bunch of mice. When words didn't flow the talk did. And when the talk didn't flow there was always the scotch. And life was good.
My gray tomcat here is excited* to announce that Scholastic Canada is reprinting PLAIN KATE. It's never been out of print -- that shiney sticker helps -- but having a new printing will put it back on all the bookstore shelves. This new edition has hits of red on the cover and of course the sticker! Out in the new year.